January 8, 2014
Gaming With Your Eyes
The two most recent generations of gaming consoles have both features, to varying degrees, motion control technology. Most notable of these has been Nintendo’s Wii, although Microsoft’s X-Box 360 and Sony’s Playstation 3 were both very quick to follow suite. Now with the Wii U, the X-Box One, and the Playstation 4 they have all integrated motion controls from the very get-go. Personally, I still see this as nothing more than a gimmick, as there have been few times where I can recall motion controls adding anything of any real worth to a game. Call me old fashioned or even lazy if you will, but I rather like playing my games either sitting on a couch with a controller in hand or, more preferably, sitting in front of my computer. It does not help me any that I have proven terrible at these sorts of games, with my motions either being typically too much or not enough for the system to recognize what I am trying to get it to do – although lack of practice is also a likely factor. Still, it is hard to deny that motion control gaming is here to stay. Now we just need to see what the next gaming gimmick is going to be.
How about eye-tracking?
Swedish tech-company Tobii and SteelSeries are working towards the launch of a gaming peripheral that does exactly that. A device that lets you play games, at least in part, with nothing more than your eyes. Based on Tobii’s EyeX system, an eye-capture device/program that allows the control of a PC in the same manner, Tobii hopes to have this latest gaming innovation on the shelves sometime in 2014, although no official release date, or price, has been set thus far.
As for what it can do for gaming, the eye-capture technology would supposedly allow for a more intuitive system of control. For example, you could potentially select an area of an in-game map simply by looking at the area you wanted to “select” or glance at a target to have your avatar aim their weapon. Motions could be translated in order to allow for things like peeking around corners, selecting party/team members, and various other possible things that modern games have you select with your controller or mouse. As for which systems would be getting Tobii’s eye-capture device, they have not stated any notion of limiting their software to any one company, so it will likely be seen on all the major gaming platforms, including my much beloved PC.
All-in-all, I do not think that eye-capture technology is going to be the next revolutionary change in gaming. I still do not think motion capture is the revolutionary change in gaming that many people I know claim it is. I will admit, though, that if it works it will definitely be a step in the right direction. The goal of gaming innovations should be the focus on immersion, of drawing in the players and making them forget that there is a control – of whatever sort – between them and their avatar. Simpler, more streamlined controls make this a possibility. Games that lack a complex interface yet still give you the feeling of control are where the future of gaming should sit, at least in my opinion, but then again, what do I know?
I am only a gamer.
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